Catherine Mayel Maku, known in the music industry as Cat Mayel is a Delta state indigene, a graduate of the University of Lagos and the eighth of nine children. “I usually call myself the black sheep because I am the one who causes all the trouble”, she says as she laughs. “I grew up in Lagos, and had all my schooling from primary to tertiary education in Lagos.”
She lives and breathes music. Her passion for music can be felt in the energy and work she puts into making her productions to attain perfection. Watching her rehearse for her performance at her just concluded live session at Spinlet, I couldn’t help but wonder what drives her.
Music has always been with Cat, as she started out in the primary school choir and from then on, joined the church choir, then the secondary school choir. “I sang soprano all through my choir days”, she says. She also started songwriting at about age 10. “I started writing songs for my school, I composed for the school album and the school choir” she says.
Speaking about song writing, Cat Mayel says she never learnt to be a song writer, “it just flows and all I need to do is to put myself into the theme of what I am writing and everything just falls into place.”
On what inspired her to start music professionally, she says “I just couldn’t stop thinking about it”. According to her, she had done several jobs, but she always felt miserable and incomplete and anytime she found herself doing music in any form, she felt whole and better, so she decided to just do what made her happy.
Also, when she started, she started getting great reviews and that spurred her on; it would interest you to know that she is also a graphic artist and all the graphics for her album arts are usually done by her.
According to her, music is like starting out a business but you can either go with the flow or decide to draw up a business plan and strategy. “I am actually doing both, going with the flow and taking it as a business. You know, a little here, a little there.”
Cat classifies her music as alternative and neo soul. On acceptance of her music, she says, “I feel like Nigerians are used to one kind of music, some people have referred to my music as dark, but after a while, those same people say they love the music, I think people just need to get used to it.” She also adds that her family always knew she was going to make music professionally, so they accepted it basically.
She describes life as an artiste as being okay, and there are times when it can be tiring, but she knows how to make out time for herself. When she is not making music, she is sketching for her designs, watching series or surfing the internet.
She also describes herself as a perfectionist, saying that she loves her work to be perfect and so at times may give producers headache when she insists on something being the way she wants it. She concluded by saying that she is putting out an album, and may be having another show soon.
Culled from Issue 14